Look out, UFC, a new fighter is gunning for the top! Meet Anastasia Yankova, a rising star in Bellator dubbed the Russian Warrior Princess. Undefeated in MMA with three wins by submission, the tantalizingly tattooed Yankova is fiercely training for her next fight this fall. While English isn’t her first language, this 25-year-old badass is remarkably eloquent and straightforward. Keep clicking to learn—and see—more…
How did you get interested in MMA? Since childhood, I was always fascinated by movies about martial arts and action flicks. At six, I started karate and then later, Thai boxing, then kickboxing and now MMA!
What kind of workout do you do each day? It’s always different. If it’s during fight camp, then I do a lot of sparring, mitt work, Brazilian jiu-jitsu and strength and conditioning. If it’s outside of camp, I do lighter versions—not so much sparring, but more technical work and rolling Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
Do you have a favorite MMA move? If we are talking about striking, it’s the front kick and high kick. When it comes to grappling, I would say triangle or arm bar. I use these moves more than any others.
Of all the combat sports you do, is there a favorite? I love kickboxing. But BJJ is new to me and I fell in love with it!
If a guy wants to get into MMA, what advice could you offer? Get ready to work hard—nothing comes easy or fast! And be ready to get punched in the face from time to time! If none of this sounds appealing, then try something different besides MMA.
Would you want to fight Ronda Rousey? For right now, I would love to train with her. For me, Ronda is not a goal or a potential opponent. She has her path that suits her and her own style. But I respect her and she inspires me.
What does it take to be a badass? Well, it depends on your definition of a badass. I think it’s living life on your own terms, and not being afraid of challenges, but thriving in them. There’s a saying in the Russian language: Good girls go to heaven and bad girls go wherever they want! I’m the latter.
Are you up for dating American men or do you prefer Russian guys? I prefer interesting, goal-oriented and fun guys no matter what their background is!
What kinds of guys interest you? I have to feel good being around a guy, first and foremost! He has to have a strong mind. Stronger than mine. I connect with the inner strength of a person and for me to like a guy, I want to feel that strength. It would be nice if he also had a positive outlook and was fun and upbeat to be around.
If a guy is shy about approaching women, what’s your best tip for overcoming that? Be yourself and relax! Meeting a girl is not the same as fighting in the cage. When you make a mistake in your initial approach, no one is going to smash your face in. The worst that can happen is an awkward moment. It might be unpleasant, but at least your nose won’t get broken.
What do you like to do in your spare time? I went to college to be an artist and clothing designer, so my hobbies are art-related. I like reading, horses, knives and I love sneakers.
What’s your favorite Russian food? You like pierogies? No, actually I don’t! I like Russian crepes (blintzes), but I try to eat healthy. I don’t care for the more traditional Russian dishes like potatoes and borscht.
For more, check out @anastasia_yankova on IG.